From AnthroWiki

The dignity (Latindignitas) of every creature consists in the unique condition based purely on its true nature, its essence. This dignity is given to all beings, especially also to the animals, by their very existence and it is not up to man to violate it, which has already partly found expression in legal life.

The human being, whose actual dignity reaches beyond mere creaturely existence and consists in being a free spiritual-moral creative being, must give himself this dignity - insofar as it reaches beyond the purely creaturely dignity, which is also given to him like all other beings - in order to possess it. This actual dignity of the indivudal human being is not a given one, but one that only becomes through human striving - and the human being can also lose it if he or she does not live up to his or her own individual condition of being. Respecting human dignity means not preventing people from developing this unique individual capacity, but rather promoting it to the best of one's ability - in a reciprocal exchange. This is the basis of the dignity of mankind as a whole, which is appropriate for our present consciousness-soul age.


Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, in his famous "Oration on the Dignity of Man", lets God speak the following words to Adam:

„We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.“

Pico della Mirandola: Oration on the Dignity of Man


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.